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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Premature demise

You can't open a paper or turn on a TV and not see a story proclaiming polls show Barack Obama is doomed in his quest for a second term.

So why is he mopping the floor with his GOP rivals in small donations, even outpacing his own 2008 efforts?

The Political Reporters Holy Trinity are polls, gaffes and, oops, give a me a second, oh yeah, cash. All reporting stems from that foundation, issues coverage be damned. And for all the Chicken Little coverage out there today highlighting Obama's flirtations in the 40 percent range, a couple of salient facts are overlooked.

Pollsters frequently avoid calling cell phones, which are rapidly becoming the only phone for many people. As a result, numbers invariably get skewed. It's also worth noting the tried and true adage that polls are merely snapshots in time and there's a long way to to next November.

Yet there is some validity to aggregating results over a near term. And when you do, it becomes extremely clear that Mitt Romney is having a very hard time getting more than 25 percent of the committed GOP electorate. But a Google search for stories highlighting that trend is sparse indeed.

And while cash has corrupted our political system, it is a benchmark. Corporations have taken advantage of Citizens United and have flooded campaign coffers -- mostly Republican -- with millions.

But the real grassroots -- the men and women who eventually turn out at the polls are apparently voting now with their checkbooks, regularly writing small checks to Obama.

It would be nice if the political press corps actually lives up to its quadrennial promise to change its ways and focus on real people and real issues and not continue the superficial stories about trends that don't exist.

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